There are a lot of rules concerning teacher service records, but there are also a few myths. We’ve separated fact from fiction in this article.
Myth: A district is required to keep a hard copy of the original teacher service record on file.
False: While a service record must be kept on file, a scanned version of the original service record may be considered official if sent directly from one employing district to another employing district (19 TAC § 153.1021(d)(5)).
Myth: A district is required to print and complete a teacher service record for every teacher every year.
False: There is no requirement to print updated service records each year. Most districts keep service records electronically and update them each year or when an employee terminates.
Myth: When an employee goes to work for another district, the service record should be held until the next district requests a copy.
False: When employment with the school district or charter school is terminated, the original service record, verified by the employee must be given to the employee upon request or sent to the next employing school district or charter school. The original service record should be verified by the employee and a legible copy maintained for audit purposes. Districts are required to provide the copy no later than the 30th day after the request is made or the date of the last day of the individual’s employment, whichever is later (Texas Education Code § 21.4031).
Myth: A district is required to keep the teacher service record on file for 75 years from the date of separation.
True: The Teacher Service Record (Texas Education Agency Form FIN-115 or its equivalent) containing information required by statute or regulation, shall be considered an employee service record of the type described by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC). The minimum retention period is 75 years from the date of separation.
Myth: A service record with a digital signature is considered official if the recipient is the educator.
False: A service record with a digital signature is only valid if the most recent school district is the designated recipient of the information from the previous district (19 TAC § 153.1021(a)(21)).
Myth: The teacher service record needs to be notarized to be official.
False: The service record must be signed by an authorized official designated by the superintendent of the school district. A digital signature or rubber stamped signature may be used in lieu of the original signature.
Luz Cadena is a senior compensation consultant at TASB HR Services. You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.